NEW NEW NEW: We’ve just be selected as a NewTek reseller for the Tricaster product line! Press release to follow soon. . .
One of the first things we wanted to do with our new Tricaster was to be able to live stream from the PodWorx studio to Ustream.tv, the free online video streaming service, using the Adobe Flash Media Encoder that is integrated within the Tricaster system. After hours (okay, actually a couple days) of “try this, test that”, we finally discovered and documented a easy-to-follow and repeatable method to initiating a live streaming video event using our Tricaster and Ustream.tv. Here’s the scoop:
1: Test the Windows Media Streaming Capabilities
Before testing the Ustream.tv connectivity, I wanted to make sure that our Tricaster, which is behind a router/firewall, was able to stream to folks outside of our network.
The Tricaster manual does a nice job of walking you through the Port Forward/find your external IP address process. You’ll have to decide what port you want your video to stream from–I used 8181 because it was a port number not being used by any other computer on our network. Once you learn your true outside IP address, write it down.
Once that’s done, from within the Tricaster Live Production console, select the Record/Stream tab and select a “pull:” Stream Type. In the Port field, I used 8181. Click the Stream Live Output button. It will turn red when streaming has begun. The Location field fills in automatically once you started streaming (which you should be doing now). More importantly, the IP address that is auto-entered IS NOT the IP address to the outside word (if you’re behind a router).
On a different computer, fire up Windows Media Player. To load your stream, you’ll want to go to File, Open URL (CTRL-U) and enter your stream’s IP address with port. (On some versions of WMP, right-click on the top bar brings up the menuing system.) Your URL will look something like this: http://25.345.343.33:8181
In our experience, it takes about 10 seconds to buffer the video and then viola, you’ve got a streaming video!!
Now that you’ve proven that you can stream outside your network, you’re ready begin your Ustream.tv stream.
MORE TRICASTER / USTREAM.TV INFORMATION
Since originally writing this post, both Ustream.tv and NewTek (the Tricaster manufacturer) have changed their configuration. As a result, most of what was originally written became obsolete. Subsequently, we’ve received several requests to provide phone-based assistance in this matter. To that end, we offer the following one-on-one Tricaster/Ustream.tv connectivity session by clicking the PayPal button below:
$495$225, we will:
- Analyze your Ustream.tv configuration for mistakes/omissions
- Test your existing Ustream.tv configuration with our Tricaster to ensure connectivity is possible with your existing Ustream.tv configuration
- Provide you step-by-step direction to configure your Tricaster for Ustream.tv connectivity
- Provide Tricaster and Ustream.tv step-by-step direction for launching your live streaming video
- Provide answer to any questions you may have about Tricaster and/or Ustream.tv configuration
Furthermore, if we are unable to deliver each of these items, we will refund your money. No questions asked. Guaranteed.
All of this will be accomplished in one hour or less. In other words, in one hour or less, you will no longer be dealing with connectivity problems. Instead, you will be streaming your content to Ustream.tv, with no more worries on how to do so.
Have a question about how this works? Please give us a call. Our number is 702.395.5268.
Finally, congrats on your Tricaster investment. I can tell you, it’s a great tool! We’ve been making money from our Tricaster investment since late January of 2009 and, with the exception of a few “features” we’ve had to work around, are pleased with our Tricaster.
It’s always fun to receive positive feedback from a podcast listener. Even more fun is to see how a “Great Podcast” email leads to more and more excitement within the company for whom the podcast is produced for. It also shows how there is a good chance that you might bump into a listener!
This email came from a listener (and Interwoven prospect) to Intersections by Interwoven.
From: Dave (not real name)
Subject: Great Podcast
I really enjoy the podcast series. Please continue releasing new episodes and keep up the great work.
I look forward to visiting the Interwoven booth at Henry Stewart DAM Symposium in New York.
(DAM stands for Digital Asset Management, by the way.)
The email was forwarded to several folks within Interwoven, all of whom got a kick out of getting this type of feedback. Interestingly, one of the people copied on the initial distribution of the email asked another on the cc list if she had recently met “Dave” at the symposium he mentioned in his email.
She had. Here’s what she said of the conversation:
“I sat next to Dave at the dinner event on Monday night. He told me that he had downloaded all the podcasts onto his iPod for his trip into NY. He said they were great and also said we were the ONLY vendor doing something like that.” [emphasis added by Scott]
The only vendor. . .nice.
Competitive differentiation. . .check!
Can you imagine being asked to provide a customer or prospect’s in-flight entertainment? Interwoven can. And so can you, as long as you remember that Dave filled his iPod with Interwoven podcast episodes not because the Interwoven podcast contains a bunch of sales stuff, but because it helps educate him. . .makes him better at his job. Helps him do his job easier. And clearly demonstrates to him that Interwoven is interest in making it easy to work with their organization.
Dave has since moved closer towards being a one of Interwoven’s newest customers. And you can bet that having a podcast helped Interwoven demonstrate to Dave that they were ready to help solve his business issues and help make him more effective at his job.
What kind of feedback are you receiving from your podcast listeners? Positive? Negative? Anything?!?
As a part of the presentation I gave to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, I listed four reason why the life of a typical corporate website is not an enviable one. Here’s a recap:
1. It is Static
Which means that the day-to-day efforts that make your company great are not being reflected and shared with your visitors. Those interesting ideas, insight, thoughts, and opinions you have? Lost.
A static website also lacks the ability to have a dialog with your customers and prospects. It is clear to me that the power of blogs and podcasts is that they are predicated on an architecture of participation.
2. It is Cumbersome to Update
Anybody with a voice in your business hates your website. Why? Because it’s too damn hard to add a new page. Don’t believe me? Here’s the steps:
- Open a new page in favorite editor
- Create/write the content
- Spell check
- Preview the content locally
- Upload the new page via FTP
- Secretly test the page
- Revise the navigation scheme throughout the website to reflect new page
- Rinse and repeat
Blech. Not exactly conducive to new content.
3. It’s Hard to Find Stuff
Do you know the average time a first-time visitor spends on your website? Three minutes or less. And because you’ve placed important content in a variety of places, there is a good chance that your visitor is missing something you thought was important.
4. Google Doesn’t Love You Anymore
While search engine optimization techniques still have value, Google give much more weight (and search result order) to content that comes from a dynamically-created, often-updated website. Like a blog. Or a podcast.
There have been no less than three occasions (that’s I’ve gone to the trouble of checking) when I placed new content on a site (either blog or podcast) that could be found on Google within one minute.
Bottom line: A static corporate website will become more and more problematic as time goes on and users expect more from their vendors/solution providers. The question you have to ask is, are you willing to risk losing business to your competitor because you haven’t taken the steps to communicate the way your customers want?
One of the benefits to speaking at the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Business Education Series has been the new PodWorx customers that have come as a result of that presentation. Especially interesting to me is that these customers fall more into the small/medium business (SMB) category as opposed to the podcasts we produce for larger companies like Polycom and Interwoven.
To date, each of the new customers we’ve begun working with has a bit of a challenge ahead of them before they can begin really taking advantage of a company podcast/blog.
They need to get their online house in order.
A great podcast, when done well, will drive traffic to your website (and vice-versa). But what happens if your website isn’t ready for that additional traffic? What happens if the search engine juice a podcast provides is wasted on a corporate website whose search engine strength is weak?
You fix it.
A great example of that is LASIK of Nevada. Dr. Rothman and his team are Las Vegas LASIK and Reno LASIK experts. (Believe it or not, Dr. Rothman has performed over 26,000 LASIK surgeries. . .which seems like a lot. . .if you ask me.) In talking about a potential podcast, we both agreed that before any podcasting happens, we have to take steps to make his website more search-engine friendly. We’ve decided to take a two-step approach.
Our first step is to simply clean up his existing website. His titles, metadata and overall html code was hurting his search engine results. Once we get that taken care of (in the short term), our second step will be to rebuild his website from the ground up as a platform that is both search engine and podcast/blog friendly.
Stay tuned as we continue down this journey. In the meantime, I wonder. . .what percentage of companies have stand-alone podcast website versus podcast content integrated within their existing website? There are pluses and minuses to both options. What are you doing (or considering)?
Now going on it’s 4th year, I believe the 2008 New Media Expo is the place to be for those interested in all things podcasting (and beyond). For those interested in the corporate deployment of a podcast, I would invite you to attend my session.
Hope to see you there!
Reason Number 6 – Web 2.0
This is an interesting “reason” because it depends largely on how you deploy your podcast as to whether or not this will work for you.
If asked to guess at the percentage of business podcasts that take advantage of the Web 2.0ness of a podcast, I would guess it’s in the single digits.
Web 2.0ness? What the hell is that? Let me clarify.
If you search for a definition of Web 2.0 in Google, you’ll get about a five million results. This tells us is that if we ask 100 people to define Web 2.0, we’ll likely get 100 different answers. To me, Web 2.0 has to do with a sense of collaboration with your visitors which is predicated on an architecture of participation. In other words, the platform that the podcast sits on is designed to make conversing with your listeners easy for them. . .and for you. The problem is that most corporate/business podcasts do not allow for a collaborative environment. Meaning, they don’t allow comments.
Allowing comments about a podcast episode demonstrates your interest in making it easy to do business with you. Here’s great example.
Interwoven, who I’ve spoken about before, decided at the launch of Intersections that they wanted to allow comments. The reasoning was simple—if a listener needed clarification or had insight not presented in an episode, they wanted to know about it. This decision lead to a perfect instance of putting out a helpful episode, getting feedback from a listener, and closing the loop with that listener.
The episode was titled, “Interwoven TeamSite’s Best Kept Secret” and featured senior product marketing manager Annie Weinberger taking the listener through a feature in TeamSite she felt was largely overlooked. About a month and a half after the episode was available online (demonstrating that new listeners were discovering the episode over a month after it went live), we received a comment:
“Do you have a set of slides that could bring me up to speed quickly? A teamsite 101.”
– Rogers Johnson
In my book, this is an invitation to have a sales conversation with somebody. Now, I’m not saying that you start SELLING here. But you do start having a conversation. . .which can certainly lead to a sale.
Annie responded with a solution. Actually, two solutions:
Funny you should mention it, there is a WCM 101 webcast this Tuesday, March 11th and you can register to view it here –
If you are unable to attend and would like a link to the recording or a copy of the slides, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Annie Weinberger
Annie demonstrated that Interwoven was very interested in helping Rogers get the answer he was looking for. As a matter of fact, if Annie’s first suggestion wasn’t good enough (the webcast), she provided a second solution: her personal email. Well done!
This is the kind of interaction companies like Interwoven love! And it should be something you embrace as well. It further demonstrates your company’s desire to improve Approachability. And it demonstrates that your company is aware and taking advantage of what the latest technology has to offer.
What about you? Does your podcast allow for comments? For many companies, they fear a commenter will say something unkind about a particular guest. Does that worry you?
New Media Expo organizer Tim Bourquin just sent an email announcing that the conference sessions for the 4th Annual New Media Expo has been posted. As promised, the sessions, which fall into five “tracks” (Audio and Video Creation 101, Attracting and Growing Your Audience, The Business of New Media, Audio and Video Creation and New Media Strategies), look to be heavy hands-on, with speakers who’ve walked the walk.
This is great news.
While I believe podcasting is a powerful branding and customer relations tool (naturally), I believe those who attend the Expo will be exposed to many ways to further that concept to their executive staff. The problem many people interested in putting podcasting to work for their company is a lack of details. How do I get started? What should I look out for? What is the best ways to get this project off the ground? What’s a process that can work for me? A review of the sessions available leads me to believe these questions will be answered.
I want to personally invite anybody who has even the most basic interest in podcasting to attend the conference. I’ve been asked by several people if it’s open to the public…it is! I can assure you that those of us chosen to speak will be working very hard to make sure you get everything you paid for! As a matter of fact, Tim had a great comment about his selection process:
“I take a close look at every proposal we get and before giving the final approval, my question to my conference coordinators is always, “If this is the only session a person goes to at the event, will they leave thinking the entire trip was worthwhile?” That’s what makes New Media Expo different than most everything else out there.”
How about that for a selection criterion?!? Nice!
Will you be going to the New Media Expo? If so, what do you hope to achieve by attending? If not, why not? Add a comment and let me know!
During my vacation in St. Lucia, I was often asked what it is I do for a living. (This usually happened whilst floating in a pool with a colorful drink in my hand.) Not wanting to spend too much time on what PodWorx does, I’d say something like,
“I’m a professional podcaster.”
This was almost always followed with the questioner tilting his head to one side (the “confused dog” yoga position), taking a sip from his drink, and the inevitable sound of crickets in the background.
“Do you know what a podcast is?”, I would ask.
95% said no.
I then launched into a terribly informative explanation of what a podcast was that to the questioner likely sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher…”Think of a podcast as a waw Waw waaaa”.
Because I didn’t like seeing people struggling to understand something while drinking a St. Lucian Surprise (highly recommended, by the way), I spent some time coming up with a better explanation of what I do for a living. Here’s what I came up with:
“I host and produce a special type of Internet radio show called a podcast.”
Everybody knows what the Internet is.
Everybody knows what a radio show is.
And for the folks I spoke with in St. Lucia, everybody understands what a podcast is.
Now I recognize that I didn’t really explain exactly what a podcast is. I didn’t speak of RSS feeds and subscriptions and all the ways to listen to a podcast, but that wasn’t the point. I just wanted to explain what I did and what a podcast is in easy-to-understand language that would leave the questioner educated and able to ask for more if they wanted to do so.
Which most did.
“Why would I do a podcast?”
“The companies that hire us want to emotionally connect to an audience of customers and prospects that are local, national or, because of the nature of the Internet, international.”
“How does that work?”
And so it went. It was fun seeing the light come on when somebody quickly got a glimpse of what a podcast was and how it could help a company. And I, I must admit, enjoyed taking a small bit of vacation time coming up with the response. It did, however, remind me that most people still don’t know what a podcast really is. Just think what’ll happen when the majority of people do know!
How about you? How do you explain what a podcast is? Let’s see where I can tweak my response to make it even better.
Reason Number 5 – Customer Loyalty
There is an interesting book on the shelves called, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, by Jeffrey Gitomer. Its premise? A satisfied customer is a customer for whom you simply haven’t yet angered and has no allegiance to your company. A loyal customer is a customer who loves you, tells other people about you and will carry your flag up the hill even if you zig when you should have zagged.
Podcasting, when done right, helps customer loyalty.
By producing a podcast that remembers to either entertain or educate your customers (one of the two criteria for a successful podcast), you attach a voice and emotion to your company brand. You humanize your company. And you’ve demonstrated that when it comes to providing relevant, helpful information to your customers, you recognize that your customers no longer expect to have to wait for content they might want to consume. You’re willing to put in the effort to provide content on their terms, not yours.
This, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.
When a customer recognizes that you’re putting that much effort into making it easy to connect to your business, that makes for an appreciative customer…which leads to customer loyalty.
Things to remember:
- Your podcast must either entertain or educate the listener
- You podcast should always ask for questions and comments during the audio portion of the show
- There should be easy-to-find contact information on the website
How has your podcast affected your customer’s perception of your company? Let me know!
As I started the day, my Google Alert for “Podcasts” told me that InformationWeek (and more specifically, Alexander Wolfe) thought that podcasting was dead.
His article had several reason behind this theory, most of which I thought were poorly researched. (Funny thing…he spent much of the article bashing podcasting and then went on the recommend a book. . .on podcasting.)
I commented on the article…here’s what I said:
Nice “linkbaiting” headline!
I agree with many of the comments above…podcasting is far from dead. It is, however, too difficult to listen to in most cases.
Our customers at PodWorx have all appreciated and benefited from their podcasts. More to the point, 100% of our 2007 corporate customers signed up for 2008. I can assure you this would not have happened if podcasting was “dead”.
Clearly, if done correctly, a podcast can be entertaining and/or educational for the listener and help a company make money or direct a listener take action on their behalf. It can be done if the effort is there. As Robert Allen said [another commenter on the page], a great deal of work is required to deliver a strong podcast. . .and most podcast fail in that department. But for those that DO make the effort, a podcast can be an outstanding component of a company’s customer loyalty efforts.
What do you think? By reading this post, I would guess you believe in podcasting. . .but maybe not. Let me know!